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Category Archives: Laduree

Brioches au Sucre

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As usual, I had issues with getting my dough to rise.  Alas, I soldiered on and here’s what I got:

They were edible, but the leftovers have become dog treats.

This one was just the basic brioche dough, but it called for that fresh yeast which requires a special trip to Star Provisions.  Not that I’m complaining about that, but it is hard to find the time to drag ass over there.  I guess I’m always glad I tried it, even if it doesn’t come out amazing.

Eat Well and Savor.

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Roasted Pineapple Tart

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Or Tarte Ananas Roti, if you prefer.

Let me tell you a tale about a pineapple and a vanilla bean.  Before you can get to the Roasted Pineapple Tart, you have to get past the Roasted Pineapple.  It’s all a very time-consuming process.  Actually, to tell the truth, before the pineapple, you need the Sweet Almond Pastry.  I made that yesterday and let it sit in the fridge.  For the pineapple you basically steep the vanilla bean and then caramelize the sugar.  Then it all roasts together for an hour and 45 minutes.   Oh, and there’s rum.

As the vanilla was steeping Jake came into the kitchen and said, what is that intoxicating aroma?  Well, maybe he said smell, but definitely intoxicating.

Once you get past the dough and the pineapple next you have to conquer the coconut cream.  Said cream calls for ground coconut, or as they put it in Laduree Sucre, coconut flour.   Now, I’ve been around, and I’ve heard some things, so I am under the impression that coconut flour in France is a little different from what we have here.  So going along with the idea of ground coconut, I probably should have just ground some coconut.  Instead, I used powdered coconut, which is really for making milk.  Before it went into the oven, it looked exactly as I thought it should, and it tasted even better.  Yes, of course I licked the spatula.  I was even nice enough to share it with Jake.  That doesn’t always happen, you know.

I just wanted to show off my perfectly whipped cream.

I think that’s where it all went south.  Although the texture still looked great after folding in the whipped cream.

So after you top it with half the pineapple and then bake it for 45 minutes — I hope you’re not in a hurry — this is what happens.

I know, it’s not pretty.  It puffed up so much that some of the pineapple fell to its demise on the oven floor.  Fortunately, it settled down a little after cooling, and I managed to camouflage it a bit.

Those are vanilla beans all over the place.  I swear, I didn’t pick the pieces off the oven floor.

In the end, it was a little soft, and not very photogenic, but it was tasty for sure.  I’m suspect it will firm up in the fridge.   Whatever happens it will not go to waste.  All in all, it was totally worth the effort.

Eat Well and Savor.

 

 

Verbena Ice Cream

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I think I said last time that this Laduree book would be the death of me. 

Well, this month I went in search of fresh verbena leaves.  It’s much more difficult than it sounds.  I thought for sure my Whole Foods, but not so much.  Then I thought, well, DeKalb Farmer’s Market, for sure.  So I high-tailed it over to Decatur the other day.  Well, not so much.  Then I went to my neck of the woods to the Cobb Farmer’s Market.  I was very impressed with all the leaves I did find, but no verbena.  Then I went to the Internet.  It seems that most often you just buy the plant at the nursery.  So I called Pike’s.  Again, not so much.  They told me to try back in a few weeks.  At this point I had pretty much given up.  I have plenty of other things to make, let’s just chuck Laduree Sucre.  Then I decided to check the plant section of Whole Foods, and there they were.

It actually took three plants to get to one ounce.

All chopped up and no place to go. 

Well, except to steep with the milk and cream.

Nothing much to do except mix with the egg yolks and sugar.

This was zingy and refreshing and, as always, worth the effort.

Eat Well and Savor.

Savarins

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I guess the whipped cream is a bit of a giveaway when it comes to figuring out that this is a dessert, but I think I’m a little tipsy from the rum. 

 

This is from Laduree Sucre.  I think this book is going to be the death of me.  First, I had to find mini savarin molds.  Then I had to find rhum agricole.  After some research I discovered that it’s rum from sugar cane instead of molasses.  Who knew?  So the rum wasn’t that much of a problem once I figured out what it was.  The real challenge was the fresh yeast.  I definitely didn’t know about that one.  I thought for sure Whole Foods would have it, or surely the Fresh Market.  No such luck.  After some serious Googling (actually I’m a Yahoo girl, but you get the idea)  I discovered they have it at Star Provisions!  Woohoo.  

Okay.  So I finally have everything I need, except some precise directions.  I guess I managed to muddle through, but I usually like more specifics.  You know, like the speed of the mixer, and do they cool in the pan.  I don’t think that’s asking a lot.  This line threw me:  fill the molds and then allow it to double and rise to the edge.  Well, if you fill them to begin with?  You see where I’m going.   I guess the moral is have confidence, because they were wonderful, light, and not too sweet.

 

This is the fresh yeast.  They only sell it in a 1-pound block and of course I only need 1/2 an ounce. 

Part of my confusion was from the fact that I knew I was making a cake, but because of the yeast, I was expecting a more breadlike consistency.  I left the dough to rise and crossed my fingers.  I figured if it had to go into a pastry bag then I couldn’t be too far off.

I obviously figured out the fill level.

This kept me busy while I waited for them to rise.   It’s the juice and rind of an orange and a lemon, vanilla bean, sugar, and water.  You can’t go wrong.  The orange and vanilla scent lingered all night.  And later you get to add some rum.

After 20 minutes in the oven they are beautiful and golden.

All that’s left is just soaking it in the rum juice.  The recipe suggested topping it with seasonal fruit, and in the picture they used a raspberry.  I went with the orange because it’s all I had.  Besides, the Barefoot Contessa says to garnish with what’s inside.

I wanted to take a bite, so I could show you the inside.  Sorry.  I was almost halfway through before I remembered to take the picture.

In addition to the rum mixed with the fruit, you top it with a little more rum before serving.    I think I am going to have to have  a second one.

Eat Well and Savor.

Macarons Amande

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Once upon a time – actually, not that long ago.  Last September Jake and I went to France for 17 days.  We started with four days in Paris, then up to Normandy, down to Provence, and then another three days in Paris.  1300 pictures and three months later and I have still not put together an album. 

Since I am a fan of the Barefoot Contessa, I knew to look out for this amazing sign.

With a display window like this it would have been hard to miss.

This is the bar area at the Champs-Elysées location.  We stopped here for my birthday and I had the most amazing cocktail with a macaron on the side. 

I couldn’t get a picture of the pastries themselves, since the line was three people deep for the entire length of the display case.  I believe this macaron tree was on the shelf by the bathroom.

As if  the bar and the restaurant and the pastries weren’t exciting enough, there is also an incredible gift shop with everything from stickers to chocolates to key chains that look like artwork AND cookbooks.   There was one for savory and one for sweet.  Even though the savory one was pink, of course I opted for the sweet.  It comes inside its own little box.

And it’s nicely wrapped in purple tissue paper, just like a little treasure.

Inside are many beautiful pictures and recipes from macarons to boissons, which are drinks.   It also describes Laduree as a celebration of all things sweet and feminine.   Like I even hesitated to buy it.

There’s just one problem: 

 Well, actually, two problems, since I don’t speak French.  I just had to have it, though.  I thought maybe it would help me learn the language, but when I got home I found the English version on Amazon, so now  I have tw

This is my first attempt at the almond macarons.  Well, technically, it’s my second, if you count the batch I started last night.  Let me tell you, this is not for the fainthearted.  First off, when it says to put the almond meal and the confectioner sugar in the food processor and then sift it, be sure to pay attention.  And when it says to whisk the egg whites to a foam, it means soft peaks.  These are the two things I neglected to do yesterday.

Today I decided to bring a little levity to the situation.  Meet Earl.

Earl is an egg separator.

Classy, I know.

This is what your eggs are supposed to look like.  I think a few things were lost in the translation, so I consulted an American book for some extra help.

Here’s my before-the-oven picture.  I actually forgot to take an after.  For that matter, I was so preoccupied with my excitement that they were going to be edible I also forgot to eat dinner. 

The book actually says that the shells can crack for many different reasons, so you shouldn’t be discouraged, especially since they will taste delicious either way.  It also recommends that you leave them in the fridge overnight so that a reaction can take place in order to enhance and refine the flavors.  I guess that the French way of saying let the flavors blend.  My brother would say it’s so they can ruminate.  The majority of mine did crack and of course I didn’t wait on that overnight thing; they are already phenomenal, so I can’t wait for tomorrow. 

I definitely need to work on the piping and getting the sizes small and consistent.  I also need to find a way to fill a pastry bag without getting the batter all over the place.   I’m open to suggestions.

Speaking of the batter, you know my policy on licking the spatula and the beater at the end.  Well, the batter was definitely resistable and the filling was just okay.  I was a little concerned about that, but together they were a perfect combination.  I guess since Laduree has been doing this since 1862 they have managed to perfect it.  

Eat Well and Savor.